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      Amarillo economic update

      The doors to Zarges, Arbor Christian Academy, BPI and Nationwide Insurance are closing in Amarillo. How does that affect the local economy?

      "In a macro sense, kind of in an overall sense, the Amarillo economy will absorb this job loss and we should continue to be a growing economy in 2012 and beyond," Happy State Bank Economist Karr Ingham said.

      As a whole, community statistics should not change too much. But WTAMU Small Business Development Director P.J. Pronger said some impact will definitely be seen.

      "Those are the people that, you know, they're buying gas, they're buying groceries, they're paying rent," he explained. "You know, they're in that real basic level of the economy and that size of payroll evaporation- it's got to have an effect."

      Some of these businesses are closing due to problems on a national level, not local.

      Ingham added Amarillo is just now coming back from the "recession hangover." Economic levels are nearly back to pre-recession levels thanks to job growth, a low unemployment rate and the spending of businesses and households. The growing oil and gas industry has also played a part.

      As for small businesses, Pronger pointed out this is a fluctuating time. No steady trend has yet been seen.

      Otherwise, he said, the economy has a lot to offer right now.

      "This is really a pretty good time to either get into business or to make a change in your business. And part of it is because we are looking at a long, slow increase in the business climate. But the other thing is these interest rates."

      Amarillo provided more than 1,700 new jobs within the last year, and 500 have opened up just since January.